When evaluating a Major League team’s offseason its important to look at how the General Manager did building the team to win now and in the future. The job of GM in Major League Baseball is always hard especially in the offseason because you have to find the balance point between acquiring proven Major League talent to help your team succeed for the upcoming season and be sure not give away too much talent if your team has a deep and talented farm system. This past offseason, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had the need to acquire a starting pitcher and a power bat to increase the thump in the lineup and the D’backs did that acquiring Bronson Arroyo in free agency and trading for Mark Trumbo at the Winter Meetings. If you were a fan of young players like Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton then you were concerned during the offseason and those concerns turned into a reality when Arizona had one of the busiest offseasons in all of MLB. The D’backs also gave up a lot of young talent and all who could have had the chance to be great in the future. The question you have to ask when evaluating how an offseason went is this: is the Major League talent that the Snakes acquired worth the loss of young talent?
Before the Winter Meetings the D’backs traded Heath Bell and David Holmberg and they received Justin Choate and Todd Glaesmann. Basically this trade was all about dumping Bell’s salary and while everybody is glad that he is somewhere else, the D’backs didn’t get much for him and they traded a good prospect just to dump his salary. Personally I would have loved to see a talent like Holmberg used in a bigger deal if he was going to be traded but then again his pitch sequence and mechanics didn’t bode well for Chase Field so it’s not the biggest loss. It still was a lop sided trade and to me I think the team gave up too much just to dump Bell’s salary.
The D’backs made possibly the biggest trade of the whole offseason at Day 2 of the Winter Meetings when they traded Eaton to the White Sox, Skaggs went back to the Angels and Arizona got the the power bat that will complement Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup while improving in the outfield. Many people questioned this move because the D’backs traded away high end young talent for a player with flaws. Trumbo, while he has the power tends to tail off in the second half of the season and he isn’t the best defender in the outfield. However, the club needed a power bat and you have to give away something to get something. The question I raise that defines this move is why do the D’backs need Skaggs or Eaton? They have five quality outfielders, and they have so much pitching depth especially after the Arroyo move at the Major and Minor League level. The bottom line is the D’backs needed Trumbo and the young talent they lost won’t hurt them.
Six days later on December 16th, the team got a reliever they were looking for to possibly solidify the closer’s role trading for White Sox reliever Addison Reed and shipping Matt Davidson to Chicago. Most people criticized this move because the Snakes traded a position player for a reliever. Remember Davidson won the Futures Game MVP at the 2013 All Star Game and he should be a star. So why trade for another reliever that can close when you already have 3 options at closer? Here is the problem: Putz had a down year in 2013 and Ziegler and Hernandez aren’t the best options. Reed is young and is proven closing 40 games last season. He also adds depth to the bullpen. We should have Martin Prado for the next four years and as long as he performs like he did in the second half of the season last year the D’backs should be fine.
The D’backs did trade a lot of young talent the Towers mindset is to win now and acquiring Trumbo and Reed helps the team do that. Plus Arizona didn’t actually give up that much considering how stacked their minor league system is from top to bottom. As long as the players continue to perform then the D’backs will be fine and trust me they are still set for the future. While Towers hasn’t produced a playoff run since 2011, he has never had a losing season in his time as GM and he knows his players more than anybody else. He talked about his moves this offseason on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM: “Every move that I’ve made or make, myself as well as our baseball operations staff, is for the betterment of this organization,” he said. “It’s not for selfish reasons or because I’ve got an ego or I don’t like this guy as a person. It’s because I think, in my heart of hearts, that we’re going to be a better ball club not only now, but in the future.” Exepct for the Bell dump I would give Kevin Towers an A this offseason as the D’backs still have plenty of talent in the farm system.